From buttermilk biscuits soaked in sausage gravy to chicken and waffles, Southerners know how to do breakfast right. Though breakfast can vary, even in the South, there is one iconic Southern breakfast dish you that stands out among the others: shrimp and grits.
For those who aren’t familiar with grits, it’s a type of porridge made from boiled cornmeal. On its own, grits are quite bland, so this staple is oftentimes served with other things to add flavor such as sausages, cheese or just butter. It’s also worth mentioning that the sauce that the shrimp are cooked in isn’t the same tomato-based, smokey barbecue sauce you would use when grilling ribs or chicken. This Louisiana-style sauce is usually made up of Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, butter, Cajun or Creole seasoning and other spices, all sauteed together.
This recipe comes from food blogger Daniela Roebuck of Style and Sustenance who drew inspiration from eating barbecue shrimp and grits for breakfast during her trip to New Orleans. She transformed the usual porridge-like grits into circular patties with sausage, cheese and breadcrumbs to be served underneath Cajun-seasoned shrimp.
If you are a pescatarian, this can be a delightful recipe that will keep you full whether you choose to eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. All you need to do is replace the pork sausage with plant-based sausages. This flavorful dish is even worth indulging in when you go meatless for Lent. If you have seafood or shellfish allergies, it is easy to swap the shrimp out for boneless chicken thighs.
You definitely won’t regret making this dish, it kind of works for any time of day. But don’t just stop there. There are plenty of classic Southern recipes that are worth trying no matter which region you’re from.
Recipe courtesy of Daniela Roebuck of Style and Sustenance
For the grit cake:
1/2 pound spicy sage sausage
1 cup quick grits
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cup half and half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup smoked gouda, shredded
1/2 cup chopped scallion
1 egg beaten with water
2 cups panko bread crumbs
For the BBQ shrimp:
1 pound jumbo 21/25 shrimp(peeled and devained)
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons sausage pan drippings
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Juice of half lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fresh chopped parsley
For the grit cake:
Step 1: In a non-stick pan or skillet, brown 1/2 pound of sausage until fully cooked. Drain and reserve pan drippings for later use.
Step 2: In a pot, prepare 1 cup grits as directed, combining 2 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 cup half and half, 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Keep on a very low simmer stirring every 2 mins until done. Remove from heat and add in browned sausage, 1 cup cheese and 1/2 cup scallion. Reserve part of the scallion for garnish.
Step 3: On a parchment paper-lined baking pan, pour the grits and smooth into an even layer. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until very firm, at least 2 1/2 hours or overnight.
Step 4: Cut out 4 rounds of the grits with a biscuit cutter. Dip rounds in egg wash and then cover fully in 2 cups panko. Repeat until you have 4 rounds. Heat 1/2 inch oil in a heavy skillet and fry 2-3 minutes per side till golden brown.
Step 5: Drain on the wire rack. Hold in the oven at 200F to keep warm.
For the BBQ shrimp:
Step 1: Season 1 pound shrimp with 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning.
Step 2: In a non-stick pan or skillet, sear shrimp for 1-2 mins on each side with sausage drippings. Remove shrimp and set aside to prepare the sauce.
Step 3: Add more drippings to the pan with chopped garlic, 1/2 cup wine and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Add shrimp and the other seasonings to taste. Finish with 4 tablespoons butter and parsley on low heat until butter is incorporated.
Step 4: Spoon shrimp and sauce over grit cake. Garnish with scallion.